The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Chris Monks and John Warner (eds) / The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency


Dear McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Writer,

I know the recent ‘Best Of’ anthology which celebrates the Tendency’s fifteen years as a humorous online adjunct to the well-known McSweeney’s literary journal says that all its articles are written by different people, some of whom, like Megan Amram, are actually famous memes on Twitter, but I know the truth. There’s just one of you.

If you weren’t one person, how else would you keep chugging out pieces that so hilariously manage to mash up styles and pop-culture references for humorous effect? I mean just look at ‘Bono Gives the Rush-hour Traffic Report’, ‘A Letter to Elton John from the Office of the NASA Administrator’, and the magnificent ‘Toto’s “Africa” by Ernest Hemingway.’ You know when you’re on to a good thing.

You’re not just witty, Tendency Writer, but you’re blazing with intelligence too. Go on, admit it. I bet you’re pretty much burdened with unused degrees. And at least one of them is an MFA in Creative Writing, probably from Iowa. Am I right? I thought so.

To be honest, if I wasn’t already married, I think I’d like to marry you. We have so much in common. We even share gender politics and liberal social views. I totally get your irony in ‘Hello Stranger on the Street, Could You Please Tell Me How to Take Care of My Baby’. And I can see myself being parodied all over ‘A post-gender-normative Man Tries to Pick Up a Woman at A Bar.’

But I do have a few concerns. Mostly I worry that our similar, but slightly-different pop-culture references might come between us. As an Australian, I have no problems of course in making sense of most of what you’re talking about. While I’ve never actually watched a box set television series, I do know Deadwood, and I think I’ve seen most of the movies you use as comic fodder: The Sound of Music, the Indiana Jones franchise. But there’s stuff I make fun of that you just wouldn’t get. Do you even know about Zombie Peter Carey on Twitter? Clive Palmer? Mamma Mia clickbait? And what about Northcote? Is everyone wearing beards in America too? 

What I worry about most, though, is that we’re both writers. I especially worry that you’ll think less of me for writing this ‘meta’ review of your anthology. In fact I probably shouldn’t even have signposted it like that, should I? I only figured that with pieces like ‘A Personal Essay by a Personal Essay’ and ‘The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do,’ you wouldn’t mind one bit.

Oh, man. This is such a crush. You’d really like me. We’d laugh together at your longrunning debate on the practical viability of the Death Star’s trash compactor, or the Facebook newsfeed edition of Hamlet (‘The king poked the queen.’ I get it. I really get it!).

I do hope we can at least hang out together one day, Tendency Writer. Maybe you could email me. We should definitely live-tweet Portlandia together. What do you think?



Related Content